Friday, March 7, 2014

Typical conversations in our family, maybe not typical for you

*For future reference, I will be using just my kids' first names on my blog. I had planned to use nicknames to protect their privacy, but I think first names will be easier.

Today on the way to school, Blake asked:

"Mom, you know how Julianna has to say 'I love you' all the time, and has to get an answer or she will keep saying it and then get mad?"

Me, smiling to myself, thinking about how many times she says 'I love you' to each of us every single day. Well, not Nathan, yet, but I'm sure once he starts talking he'll get the same thing.

"Yes," I replied. "Did she just do it again?" Looking at Julianna in the rearview mirror, "Julianna, you can't say 'I love you' to Blake anymore today, okay?" Julianna quietly responded yes, but doesn't sound very convincing. She has to say 'I love you' all's her thing right now. It's been her thing for a quite a while. Those of you with special needs kids might understand this a little better.

Blake continued, "Well, how come when I don't answer, after she says it over and over waiting for an answer, she hits me? But when you don't answer, she doesn't hit you? It's not FAIR!"

He made a good point. "Well, because I'm her mom, and she can't hit her mom!" Looking at Julianna in the rearview mirror again, "Julianna, don't hit Blake when he doesn't answer you, okay? Be nice to your brother. And don't say 'I love you' so much!" Again, Julianna quietly responded yes, not sounding very convincing at all. Then Blake chimes in, "Yeah, Julianna, I'm exhausted!" First time he'd ever used that word. And he used it in response to his sister's words of love. Only in my house, I tell you.

The irony in this situation is hilarious. Here's a sister, telling a brother, that she loves him. What a kind thing to say, right? Well, imagine being that brother, who hears his sister say this to her, on average, about every 5 minutes. Saying "I love you" would get old pretty fast. But to make it worse, if he doesn't reply with an "I love you, too" or "thank you" back, she will keep saying she loves him, over and over, until she's so mad that she hits him. She hits him because she wants to make sure, every five minutes, that he still loves her, too.

We've explained the silliness of this scenario many times to Julianna. "Why do you say 'I love you' over and over, until the 'I love you' sounds like an angry one, and then you hit him?" Really, you'd have to hear me saying this to hear the humor. Her "I love yous" go from happy to angry to aggressive. The great thing is, she understands this is funny. She knows that it doesn't make sense to hit someone after you tell that person you love him. When I imitate her, she laughs, and says, "I don't know why I do that, Mommy."

Welcome to my life. Trying to decipher why my daughter does certain things. Why she has to repeat specific phrases, over and over again, and why it makes her mad when it doesn't always go the same way. Trying to discover a way to help her overcome those things. Failing miserably, over and over again. But never giving up. And sometimes, accepting those things as just part of who she is. If she wants to say "I love you" all day, then I'll take it. At least it's not something horrible that she's repeating. We know she loves us, a lot. What could be better than that.

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